Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The One Where My Book Club Blows

Just got a message in my Spam folder with the subject line, "Sarah -- You can become the new King of Cleveland!"

. . . . . . .

I was not. . .aware Cleveland had a king. Or that a female could be king. Obviously, I am on the wrong career path as of this moment.

This kind of makes me miss the days when King Djibashae Tutalegument of Nigeria wanted to deposit 1,500 trillion dollars into my bank account. Hey, Djibashae! Where's my money?*

Book Club was tonight. Let me set a background here. I've been signed up for this meeting for the last month and a half or so. I've been super jazzed. I've been looking forward to breaking out of my social anxiety-laden shell and meeting some people and talking about books. Getting opinions and stuff.

D went with me to the coffee place, and I roundaboutly asked him (Read: Demanded) that he stay. The meeting was at a coffeehouse, so he was able to get work done while he was sitting there, listening to whatever he had playing in iTunes.

So I sit down at these tables, and realize what I did not actually expect: I am clearly the youngest person there. That always makes me feel super awkward, because people assume that young = stupid. For the majority of people my age, yeah. That's true. But not all of us are stupid. Someone asks me if I'm new, and I said yes. She says she could tell.

She could tell because everyone knew each other. Even though the meetup description said, "There're new people at every meeting!". . .well, I mean, I guess that wasn't a lie. I was new, after all. But EVERYONE ELSE knew each other.

"How're the kids, Doreen?"
"Oh, they're great, Helen, thanks for asking! Daniel is still talking about the pot roast you brought to mine and Damien's potluck dinner last week."
"Oh, hey guys! Are you talking about the potluck? Me and Greg sure enjoyed that!"
"That's right, Cynthia! I think we should all get together soon and have another potluck. . .maybe a girls' night out afterward!"

Kind of like that.

So our moderator, a woman who is most definitely going to look like Betty White in about 20 years, starts off with a fairly innocuous question. . .that I can't even remember. What I DO remember is that I had a BADASS answer to it, so I said, ". . ." (whatever my answer was.)


This other lady had the same opinion I did, and took the beginning of my sentence and then ran with it. . .effectively taking it from me. That sounds melodramatic, I'm aware, but there's really no other way I can describe it.

OK, fine. I'll wait until something else comes up.

So then there was something I wanted to say something about. I started to say whatever it was I wanted to say, and half a second after I started talking, this other lady started talking, and raised her voice to be heard over me. I tried a tactic I use occasionally when D and I argue, where, if I'm being interrupted, I continue saying what I was saying in the hope that he other person will be like, "Oh. She's still talking. I'll knock it off. Maybe she's saying something important."

But no.

She raised her voice so she could be heard over me, and I just kind of gave up on the entire concept.

One person sent my a sympathetic look when that happened, but I was like, eff a bunch of book club.

So I sat there and just listened.

And let me tell you. . .what I was listening to made me mad that I'd chosen to waste an entire evening on this thing. I've been to book clubs before, and when I did, we discussed. . .the book we'd all read. At this one? The novel had been about Alzheimer's, and this one woman went on and on in a sort of monologue for about 15 minutes about the fact that her father (or mother?) had died of Alzheimer's. And then after her monologue, it became about mental illness as a whole. And then somehow, diabetes was thrown into the mix.

I'm texting D throughout this entire travesty of an evening, telling him how bored I am, etc. He's sitting there, but he's got headphones on, so he's not having to listen to every little inane detail about what these women were talking about.

Then, somehow, it turns into a conversation about how people in their 20's take everything for granted. ("Hey, guys!" Internal Monologuing Sarah yells, "We're not ALL like that!" And then it turns into a conversation about how, if this were to happen to us in real life (a loved one having Alzheimer's) how, "Since we're women, it would be easier for us to take on the role of the caretaker." But if we, as women, had the disease, we'd expect our menfolk to just fall apart and not be able to take care of anything themselves.


I can tell you one thing with the utmost of certainty. If I had Alzheimer's, D wouldn't fall apart in the least. But if he had it? I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Maybe that's because I "take everything for granted."

And then everyone started chiming in with, "Oh! My husband's the same way! Oh, it's be so much easier for me to take care of him than for him to take care of me."

And then? They all started talking about what a brilliant book "The Notebook" is.



Why didn't they just say that Justin Bieber is the most awesome superstar in the history of entertainment, that Michael Jackson would be a great babysitter for your son, or that Perez Hilton would be the ideal person with whom to share your umost deepest, darkest secrets?**

If I wasn't convinced before the Notebook conversation that this wasn't the group for me, that just did it. Because Every. Single. Person. agreed with the "That was the Best! Book! Ever!" statement.

So, needless to say, only about 10 of the 90 (90!!) minutes was spent talking about the book. I'd come for a conversation during which I could feel smart because I had something intelligent to say about something I'd read. But instead, I felt like an outsider, because I had nothing to say about any of the topics at hand. Had I said, "'The Notebook'? REALLY? I HATED the movie, and I find everything Nicholas Sparks has ever read to be insipid and stupid," I probably would have gotten the exact same reaction: No one noticing I was a part of the group.

Needless to say, I will not be going back. And my experiment into the World of the Socially Un-Retarded failed. Epically.

I guess I need to find a new hobby, because reading the same thing other people read clearly isn't going to work for me.


*Um, I never fell for this.
**Clearly, my knowledge of current events is awesome.


  1. OK, so that sounds like it was awkward! And all I can say about Alzheimers is I hope I never get it cos my mother had it and... but I'm not going to bore you! Find another book club! Maybe see if you can check out the books they read first?

  2. I should clarify: I'm not being mean about people wanting to talk about Alzheimer's! That's perfectly OK. . .but there's a time and a place, I think, and this was "Book" Club not "An opportunity for one person to talk about her parents, her history, and her thoughts on life" Club. I don't know anyone with Alzheimer's, and I have no experience with it, so I didn't have anything to say. I HAD, however, read the book! :)

    The next book that they're going to read, I didn't want to read anyway. . .back to the drawing board, I guess.

  3. Sounds more like it was a support group than a book club, or apparently, their version of a Girl's Night Out! Sorry you landed in such a lousy Book club! And not to stifle a laugh or anything at the trials of enduring their support group, er, um, I mean book club, but I almost spit my coffee onto my poor unsuspecting computer reading that....more than once! :>

    This the first time I've clicked my way to your blog (hopped here from Say Anything), glad I did! :>

  4. I read "The Notebook" about three years ago, and I wasn't particularly moved by it. When I had finished it, I read several of the blurbs that had been reprinted from reviews and placed in the first several pages of the paperback. One indicated that if I, the reader, were not weeping uncontrollably by the end of the story, then I had ice water in my veins. I take issue with that statement. I'm a total sap. In fact, I once cried during a game show because I was so happy for the family who had won! Go figure.

  5. Sounds like a sucky book club. I've never been in one myself and do have some social awkwardness tendencies myself. I did find a decent writing group via Meetup and one member who has become a close friend. So, there is still hope out there that you'll find a group for you!